Sinn Féin spokesperson for Agriculture, Deputy Martin Kenny has again called on Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed to look at the compensation offered to sheep farmers for the introduction of mandatory electronic identification (EID).
Deputy Kenny said: “While I welcome the transition period for the introduction of mandatory electronic identification of all sheep from October 2018 to June 2019, I ask the Minister to look again at the compensation offered for this increase in the cost of production for farmers.
“The price of EID tags, compared to the current slaughter tag for lambs, is four times greater and for EID tags, compared to current mart tags, it is three times greater. This means that the Minister’s proposed maximum compensation of €100 will not cover the cost of tagging 100 lambs either for slaughter tags or mart tags."
Deputy Kenny noted the recent Teagasc Situation and Outlook report indicates that sheep farm costs of production have risen 12% this year compared to last year and that even though lamb prices are better than last year, profit margins are set to decline by 8% compared to last year.
“I made the proposal when the Minister announced the introduction of mandatory EID tagging for all sheep that it should be incorporated into the Sheep Welfare Scheme by increasing the payment from €10 to €15 per ewe," he said.
“I believe the Minister could still do this in Budget 2019, if he wished, and it would be a much needed help to farmers have gone through one of the worst years for a long time and are facing into another tough winter with fodder shortages imminent.”